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Greater Seattle Real Estate Trends for May, 2017

In a Nutshell Takeaways:

Prices continue to climb around the Greater Seattle Metropolitan area, as the simple economic principle of supply and demand keeps an upward pressure on prices.

The Greater Seattle job market may be the biggest contributing factor. With an unemployment rate hovering around 3% (Seattle) and a glut of attractive jobs, people continue to move to the area for work and drive additional demand for real estate.

Generally speaking, the closer to the primary job centers of Seattle and the Eastside, the more demand and the higher the prices. Furthermore, land is at a premium in the largely developed job core, which dampens the ability to add inventory beyond the existing housing stock.

Outlying cities like Bothell, for example, are where builders are finding land. The ability for new development combined with the lack of inventory and high prices closer in to the job centers are helping to push prices higher in Seattle’s outlying areas.

Data Points:

To illustrate some of the above talking points… according to data from the Northwest Multiple Listing Service, the median selling price of single family homes last month in Snohomish County grew 17.3% year over year to $440,000. Compare that to King County where the median selling price rose 15.7% to $625,000.

Looking specifically at data I compile for the city of Seattle, based on NWMLS sales data, the median selling price for single family homes rose 12.2% year over year.

To summarize while working from the Seattle job core outwards… Seattle prices rose 12.2%, King County rose 15.7%, and Snohomish County grew 17.3%.

And on the topic of new construction… 17.9% of single family home sales in Seattle were new construction, which includes townhomes. Compare that to Snohomish County, where new construction accounted for 19.4% of last month’s sales.

Looking deeper, it’s also pertinent and interesting to note that townhomes represented a whopping 45.8% of Seattle’s new construction sales, compared to only 12.0% in Snohomish County.

On the Horizon:

Unforeseen and unknown future economic factors aside (i.e. WW3), the short to mid-term horizon looks to be more of the same. The supply of homes for sale around Seattle and King County remains at historic lows below 1 month of supply. Or put another way, we’re a far cry from what analysts suggest to be a balanced market (4-6 months of supply).

The last time King County had a supply level of at least 4 months was back in February of 2012.

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